Rich textures and an intriguing set-up cannot stop this short thriller from faltering…
Éluder begins with a very intriguing set-up, an elegant man relaxing in his hotel room is disturbed by an envelope being passed under his room’s door. Upon opening it he finds a photograph of a woman and enough accompanying information to have him believe her life is in danger. We realise that she is a target and he incorrectly received the mail intended for her assassin. Frankly this set-up opens a plethora of opportunities for the script to go in all sorts of interesting directions, it’s biggest problem being then that in immediately slips into inertia.
As soon as our hero makes the decision to leave his room with the photograph we expect the tension to rise and the pace to quicken. Will he find the woman? Can he save her? Do we ever find out why he ended up receiving the envelope? Instead we hit a lull in action which, despite the score’s best efforts never really quicken’s our pulse nor stimulates our intrigue. By the time the film gets around to ramping up the pace and delivering its twists and turns we find that we are struggling to be fully invested, and given how much it tries to cover in its short running time, you would think they were testing out the plot of a feature rather than constructing a streamlined short. It’s biggest and theoretically most impactful moment therefore isn’t earned and falls falt, which is a shame given how much potential this short holds.
It looks good, the direction is confident, the actors invest into their performances and the ideas behind the piece are both intriguing and exciting. Unfortunately I think it is a draft or so away from reaching its full potential, squandering too much time initially with flabby script and not leaving itself enough time later on to really succeed at being what it wants to be. A good effort, and we are intrigued to see what its cast and crew do next, but Éluder doesn’t quite hit the mark.
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